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KM: still a long road ahead

This article appears in the issue May 2007, [Vol 16, Issue 5]


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For more than 10 years, these pages have been dedicated to improving business performance through the practice of sound knowledge management—not just the tools provided to achieve it, but through a sometimes fundamental change in attitude. To be sure, we have documented profound accomplishments in that arena, but the message is still not being heard.

That has never been made more clear than through the findings of a report commissioned by Attunity and performed by the UK research firm Loudhouse, in which senior management of 200 US and 200 UK commercial corporations with more 500 employees were interviewed.

Half of the managers surveyed complain that they have insufficient time to focus on the key business issues and priorities that they regard as most important for their companies. Respondents included being overworked, shifting priorities and unplanned issues that arise during the course of the working week as the primary contributors to being highly reactive and not as effective as they feel they should be.

Despite significant IT investments in delivering actionable information, the survey results indicate that senior managers are not reaping benefits from these investments. Managers are frustrated with the inordinate amount of time they spend collecting and synthesizing information in order to make decisions and take actions. The research also found that managers who felt they spent too much time gathering data were more likely to be dissatisfied with their employers.

Other key findings include:

  • 52 percent of managers complain about having insufficient time to focus on key issues when asked to select their top three frustrations/challenges.
  • An inordinate amount of time, approximately a quarter of the normal working week, is being spent gathering, collating and massaging data versus analyzing it and acting on it; UK managers spend an average of 11 hours per week; U.S. managers spend an average of 12 hours per week.
  • 31 percent of managers indicated one of their top frustrations was sourcing accurate, complete and reliable information.
  • 50 percent of managers think they spend more time than they should handling information.

Most survey respondents reported feeling inundated with last-minute issues and problems that must be addressed immediately. These unexpected events hinder a manager’s ability to tackle more strategic and long-term plans, ultimately affecting the competitiveness of the organization. Managers are frustrated that they lack the tools they need to be agile and effective. They feel strongly that an agile organization would be more competitive; they’re frustrated that they can’t effectively anticipate and manage the most important events.

The issues pointed out in the study deserve more room than we have here, so we’ll follow up in the July/August issue with a more in-depth review. 


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